Study Ranks America's Most Liberal and Conservative Cities

A new nationwide study released by the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research (BACVR) ranks the political leanings of every American city and finds that Detroit, Michigan is the most liberal and Provo, Utah the most conservative.

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A new nationwide study released by the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research (BACVR) ranks the political leanings of every American city and finds that Detroit, Michigan is the most liberal and Provo, Utah the most conservative.

In all, the BACVR researchers examined voting patterns of 237 American cities with populations of over 100,000 and ranked them each on liberal and conservative scales.

The list of Americas most liberal cities is dominated by cities with large African American populations that are concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest and California.

Conversely, the study found that the staunchest conservative cities are clustered in the South and interior West and have extremely low numbers of African American residents.

Detroit, MI, and Provo, UT, epitomize Americas political, economic and racial polarization, says Peter Thai, a BACVR researcher. As the most conservative city in America, Provo is overwhelmingly white and solidly middle class. This is in stark contrast to Detroit, which is impoverished, black and the most liberal.

Gary, Indiana, a rust belt former steel town, comes in as Americas second most liberal city, followed by Berkeley, California, which ranks third. Washington, D.C. comes in as the fourth most liberal and Oakland, California comes in fifth.

On the list of the nations most conservative cities, Texas cements its reputation as Americas most rock-ribbed state, having three cities in the top five. Lubbock and Abilene, Texas rank as the second and third most conservative cities, respectively, followed by Hialeah, Florida in fourth place and Plano, Texas in fifth.

BACVR researchers found a direct correlation between a citys political ideology and its racial makeup. The great political divide in America today is not red vs. blue, north vs. south, costal vs. interior or even rich vs. poor it is now clearly black vs. white, says Phil Reiff, a BACVR director.

While there are a few liberal cities without large African American populations, these wind up being the exceptions. College towns like Berkeley and Cambridge have modest black populations but remain bastions of upper middle-class, white, intellectual liberalism. These liberal white communities, however, are more reminiscent of penguins clustering together around a shrinking iceberg than of a vibrant and growing political movement, Reiff says.

The Bay Area Center for Voting Research is a nonpartisan think tank based in Berkeley, California. A full copy of the report and the complete list of rankings for all 237 cities are available at Americas 25 Most Liberal Cities (in descending order)

Rank City State

1 Detroit Michigan

2 Gary Indiana

3 Berkeley California

4 Washington, D.C. Dist. of Columbia

5 Oakland California

6 Inglewood California

7 Newark New Jersey

8 Cambridge Massachusetts

9 San Francisco California

10 Flint Michigan

11 Cleveland Ohio

12 Hartford Connecticut

13 Paterson New Jersey

14 Baltimore Maryland

15 New Haven Connecticut

16 Seattle Washington

17 Chicago Illinois

18 Philadelphia Pennsylvania

19 Birmingham Alabama

20 St. Louis Missouri

21 New York New York

22 Providence Rhode Island

23 Minneapolis Minnesota

24 Boston Massachusetts

25 Buffalo New York

Americas 25 Most Conservative Cities(in descending order)

Rank City State

1 Provo Utah

2 Lubbock Texas

3 Abilene Texas

4 Hialeah Florida

5 Plano Texas

6 Colorado Springs Colorado

7 Gilbert Arizona

8 Bakersfield California

9 Lafayette Louisiana

10 Orange California

11 Escondido California

12 Allentown Pennsylvania

13 Mesa Arizona

14 Arlington Texas

15 Peoria Arizona

16 Cape Coral Florida

17 Garden Grove California

18 Simi Valley California

19 Corona California

20 Clearwater Florida

21 West Valley City Utah

22 Oklahoma City Oklahoma

23 Overland Park Kansas

24 Anchorage Alaska

25 Huntington Beach California

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